Following a disappointing finals series after a top-four finish in 2009, Collingwood entered the 2010 decade as one of the teams to beat, boasting high-profile recruits Darren Jolly and Luke Ball.
Port Adelaide have become the latest AFL flag contenders to step on a landmine, copping a 39-point shellacking from a dominant Collingwood.
Friday night’s clash at Marvel Stadium was billed as a thriller but was effectively all over at quarter-time when the red-hot Pies held a seven goal to nil lead.
The Power fought their way into the game, scoring five straight majors either side of halftime to pare the margin back to three goals.
But it was too little, too late with the Pies finishing strongly to run out 15.18 (108) to 10.9 (69) winners and climb to second on the ladder.
Collingwood will be sweating on the fitness of prime mover Taylor Adams, who limped from the ground early in the third quarter after pulling up sore in his left groin.
Adams played no further part in the game, while Port also went a man down in the third term when veteran Brad Ebert copped a knee to the back of the head.
Sorely missing Robbie Gray, Port won almost 60 fewer disposals than Collingwood in the first quarter but were still on the wrong end of the tackle ledger.
Collingwood’s livewire second-year forward Jaidyn Stephenson booted three of his four goals in the opening term, reclaiming his outstanding debut season form.
Partner in crime Jamie Elliott added two of his own in a start that resembled a training drill for the Magpies, who kicked 7.6 (48) to quarter-time.
“That first 30 minutes was exceptional footy,” coach Nathan Buckley said.
“You get to quarter-time and you’ve really got no more else to say than ‘geez well done boys, that’s our footy played at its best’.”
With star midfielder Ollie Wines struggling to find the ball, former skipper Travis Boak (31 disposals, one goal) drove Port’s resurgence in his 250th game.
But the Pies had far too much class, led by intercept defender Darcy Moore who continued his superb start to the season with 21 disposals and seven marks.
“The opposition were really on and they made us pay,” Port coach Ken Hinkley said.
“They did that for most of the night, to be fair.”
Skipper Scott Pendlebury backed up his starring role on Anzac Day with a typically polished 36 disposals and was ably supported by Adam Treloar (35) and Tom Phillips (31).
Forgotten tall Ben Reid, summoned to replace the injured Mason Cox, also impressed in his first AFL game in almost a year.
The Power became the latest contenders to suffer a setback in a highly-competitive season.
Premiers West Coast suffered big defeats to Geelong and Port, GWS lost at home to Fremantle and Richmond began their season with consecutive losses.